ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's first round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft was defenseman Jonas Brodin.
After playing in Sweden last season, he was expected to compete for a roster spot with Minnesota in training camp.
A lockout, a broken collarbone and an abbreviated stay with the Houston Aeros later, Brodin is with the Wild and will make his Xcel Energy Center debut tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets after playing in both of the games on Minnesota's recent two-game road trip.
Wild coach Mike Yeo said he's been very pleased with his young defenseman through two games, especially considering the circumstances.
"Going to Joe Louis [Arena in Detroit], that's a pretty tough welcome to the NHL and I thought he was outstanding," Yeo said. "I thought he was very good in St. Louis, too, in a game that was very difficult for a defenseman to play. I think he's done a very nice job.
Yeo is rewarding the young Swede by moving him to the Wild's top pairing with veteran Ryan Suter. The promotion promises to bring a much bigger spotlight, more ice time, and gives Wild brass a chance to see a defensive pairing that could be together for a long, long time.
"Quite possibly," Yeo said. "Certainly we're projecting for [Brodin] down the road to be that kind of player. But let's be fair, this is only his third game in the NHL. We're asking a lot of him, but we do think he is capable of it."
The move also allows the reunion of Tom Gilbert and Clayton Stoner on the Wild's second D-pairing, a unit that was very impressive over Minnesota's first two games -- the team's two wins so far this season.
The Blue Jackets were late arrivals to Minnesota. After beating the Dallas Stars on Monday night at Nationwide Arena, weather conditions kept their plane grounded until this morning. The team did not leave Ohio until 10 a.m. local time and arrived in Minnesota less than eight hours before puck drop.
The team is not scheduled to hit the ice until warm-ups tonight, but will look to build off their win last night, which snapped a four-game losing streak.